Two years after the arrival of Roy Alonso at the Monte Real Club de Yates, the former Olympic coach of the Laser Radial class, coordinator of the Santander High Performance Specialized Center and technical director of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, we He talks about how the sports management of the Baionese club has changed.
New boats, new strategies and new actions that have already begun to give the expected results. The Monte Real Club de Yates Sailing School currently has 123 students in its different modalities of light sailing and cruising, most of them from Baiona and other points in the province of Pontevedra. It also provides services to numerous associations and entities of people with functional diversity, offering adapted sailing activities and courses to nearly 50 people throughout the year.
We would like to start this interview by looking back so that you can tell us how these last two years have been in Baiona, what balance do you make of the changes introduced in the Sailing School?
The assessment is very positive at all levels. When the possibility of being able to work at Monte Real came to me, the board of directors was always very proactive in the sport of sailing, and that was something that encouraged me a lot to take on this project. In addition, the coaching staff that the club had was very good, it was only necessary to redirect each one towards what they were really specific about; and with the new additions we were able to increase the technical capacity of the school in a very short time. Now we have a structured school with planning within each work group with the school’s students, which is giving us very good results.
One of the biggest changes to the School has been the introduction of a new type of ship, the Cyclone. Why the bet on this boat?
I was looking for a collective boat that was more complete than those currently being used in Galicia, and that could be used by both children and adults. And this boat had the features he was looking for. The important thing is that it was a fast, simple and easy-to-handle boat in which the closest thing to the boats that are later used when leaving a school could be taught. With this we get more fun and learning for the students, who leave more prepared for any type of boat.
From what I see, one of the objectives is still for children, the more the better, to come to the sea and enjoy the world of sailing, but the truth is that there are many who continue to think that it is an elitist sport. Is it possible to demystify this idea?
When a student enters a school, be it a child or an adult, they can come to enjoy and learn sailing or they can have the bug of the competition. When you only come to sail to learn and have fun, you only have the monthly expenses, which range between 50 and 65 euros, depending on age. Well, and then the clothes you buy to navigate comfortably, and here we already know that there are companies that sell sports brands at more affordable prices. When someone is bitten by the competition bug and wants to go further, there are two possibilities. The first is to buy a ship and the material, and here everything depends on how optimized it is. The example is very clear if we compare it with bicycles. To walk and play sports you have them from 200 euros, but if you want better material or something to compete, prices can easily exceed 6,000 euros. Well, the same thing happens with sailing. The second option is that you like to compete and do not have or do not want to spend that money. In this case, if you manage to enroll in a regatta boat that needs crew members, you will only have the cost of the federative license and the specific clothing.
Another problem is that many clubs have ended up becoming purely social entities with very little connection with the sea, mainly due to the lack of fans of their members. What is the situation of Monte Real with respect to this issue?
Unfortunately it is something that usually happens in yacht clubs. I believe that we are on the right track and every day there are more partners who are involved in the sport of sailing, through the school part with family members or helping in the progression of the school’s students. The club has invested in the last two years in sports material and work equipment and with this we have managed to involve the member more in the sport and we hope to continue advancing in this line. Today, the percentage of members in the Sailing School is 25 percent. The remaining 75 percent of the students are not members of the club, a figure that is also very important for us, because it implies opening Monte Real to the outside, to Baiona, to the province of Pontevedra and to anyone who wants to practice sailing with us. .
When you arrived at the club you said that “in Monte Real there is great potential dormant and it is my intention to awaken it and promote it, take advantage of the greatness of this historic club to lay the new foundations for a promising future”. How do you carry that goal?
I keep thinking the same thing and little by little we see that the evolution is very good. We are increasing the number of events and boats in the different competitions that we carry out and we achieve satisfaction on the part of the athlete who comes to the club to compete. And on the side of the school we have much more demand and a great activity both on weekends and on weekdays. Our desire is always to improve and we will continue in this line, because it fills us with satisfaction when both the sailor and the students are happy with all the activities carried out in the club.
What does the Monte Real Club de Yates currently offer to anyone who wants to sail?
We try to offer courses that people who want to enjoy them learn and enjoy sailing. In the annual courses we have light sailing and regatta teams for children. They are courses that are taught during the weekends for minors with very affordable prices, between 40 and 60 euros. In addition, we work with several associations of people with functional diversity, children in care and minors with behavioral problems. And for adults we have light sailing and cruising, both on weekends and during the week, with a price of 65 euros per month. In this group, in addition to teaching sailing, there are many night navigation dynamics, learning to anchor, dock, coastal navigation, etc. We also offer private classes, in case any student needs different schedules than those marked or if they have their own boat and want to learn more about it. And in summer we have much more recreational and leisure offer.
This year, as a novelty, you have also included PNB, PER, Skipper and Yachtsman courses in the school, and the well-known RYA (Royal Yachting Association) courses, for which you still have to wait for homologation. It will be, without a doubt, a great qualitative leap, what expectations do you have for this type of training?
So is. We signed an agreement to be able to carry out ENAL nautical qualifications, the national pleasure boat management titles; and also the famous RYA courses. We will also give courses on high-altitude navigation, handling electronics, and many other things. The truth is that we have one of the most complete schools in Spain.
With the launch of the RYA courses, Monte Real becomes the first club in Galicia and in the entire Cantabrian Sea to offer this type of training. Do you think that the rest of the Galician schools will end up offering them as well or is there not as much demand as it happens, for example, in the Mediterranean?
They are very specific courses, with a majority of foreign clientele, so an academy in the north of Spain should be more than enough. These qualifications are in greater demand in the Mediterranean because the yachts do require their crews to obtain the RYA qualifications. In Galicia at the moment we do not have so much tourist demand. If only.
How do you see the situation of sailing schools in Galicia?
I think there are clubs that are doing well and others that could improve. There are schools with very old material and thus it is difficult to offer something interesting. To make sailing an attractive sport, you have to renew materials, be up-to-date and offer variety.
And in that scenario that you just drew for us… where is the Monte Real School located? What is your situation compared to other schools?
I don’t like to compare myself with any school, but I do believe that at Monte Real we are moving towards a very complete and modern school. Every time we bring more boats and new products to make it more attractive and we also look for an environment of comfort and fun.
And now that we know a lot about what is being done and will be done at the MRCYB School, tell us why we should participate in one of your courses or activities?
I can give you several reasons. The first is that, for sailing, the Rías Baixas have perfect sea and wind conditions. On the other hand, the courses we teach have very affordable prices and that allow anyone who wants to sail to stay without doing it for money. And finally, we have such a wide variety of candle making products that you can get hooked on so many different things. I’m sure you like some.
It is an interview with Rosana Calvo, head of communication at the MRCYB